Fatal Throne: The Wives of Henry VIII Tell All

An incredible lineup of authors explore the lives and deaths of the wives of Henry VIII. A complex and in-depth examination of complicated people, each of whom has very different reasons for wanting to be queen (or not) and the sometimes bizarre behind-the-scenes reasons for their downfalls.

Henry VIII - M.T. Anderson
Katharine of Aragon - Candace Fleming
Anne Boleyn - Stephanie Hemphill
Jane Seymour - Lisa Ann Sandell
Anna of Cleves - Jennifer Donnelly
Catherine Howard - Linda Sue Park
Kateryn Parr - Deborah Hopkinsons
Queen Elizabeth I - M.T. Anderson

This thorough collection of detailed accounts is a history-lover's dream. Each queen's voice is distinctive, exploring each woman's ascent to the precarious position of Henry's wife. Henry's obsession with a male heir fuels much of his unhappiness with each woman, but others are also working in the background for their own purposes, throwing out false accusations of infidelity, incestuous relations, and other troubling allegations. I learned a lot from this collection that I didn't previously know, and a number of overly simplified tidbits of knowledge were fleshed out through each account.

The book is supplemented with a timeline of events during the Tudor reign, as well as a "Who's Who" list of biographies. There is also a detailed bibliography of sources used by the authors to put together their respective chapters. The book's introduction also ensures that readers know about the rigorous research that went into the creation of the collection:
My fellow writers and I have spent days, weeks, and months with their ghosts. We've pored over books and essays. We've dug through papers and proclamations, read writs and acts, diaries and depositions. We've stared at their portraits, trying to decipher their souls from their expressions. We've stood in the rooms they stood in. At in. Loved, argued, danced, and died in...
I most definitely recommend this book for fans of European history as well as historical fiction in general.

(NOTE: This review is from an Advance Reading Copy - Out May 1, 2018) 


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